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Monster movies come in all shapes and sizes, but you just can't beat a good old-fashioned monster-on-monster throwdown. Godzilla is arguably the king of this type of movie, having laid the smack down on everything from a three-headed dragon to a mechanized version of himself. After taking a little break, Godzilla is back at it again, but this time he'll be facing none other than King Kong. Eventually. These two kings of cinema will face-off in Godzilla vs. Kong, the culmination of Legendary's shared cinematic universe of giant monsters. It's definitely exciting, but Godzilla's clearly going to win, right?
The thought of Godzilla vs. Kong is attractive, but there's no question that Kong is facing an uphill battle on this one. Legendary's Godzilla comes in at around 350 feet, an alpha predator with every inch of his body modeled for battle, not to mention his atomic breath. Kong, meanwhile, is a 100-foot tall gorilla-ish man. At first glance, the winner is clear, but after seeing Kong: Skull Island, I'm not so sure Kong is as disadvantaged as he seems. Let's discuss why:
Godzilla: Stats and Powers
Let's start with the Mike Tyson of this fight. Legendary's take on the classic Kaiju is a killing machine. He's the second tallest Godzilla ever (after Toho one-upped it with 2016's Shin Godzilla) and he doesn't mess around. Godzilla's whole body is basically a weapon; he's got his tail, spiky back, powerful jaws, and he can throw his frame for a mighty tackle. This Godzilla is THICK, carrying a massive bulk that makes him opposing to even look at. Let's just say he does his push-ups, sit-ups and drinks plenty of juice. As it stands now, Godzilla has the clear size advantage against Kong.
All of those attributes presents a challenge to Kong, but Godzilla's true strength lies in his endurance. In Gareth Edward's 2014 Godzilla, The King of the Monsters battled two opponents -- the MUTO's -- at the same time. Alone, they weren't really a match for Godzilla, but together they were able to overwhelm him. Godzilla takes a beating in that fight, the MUTO's hammering blows on him while he lays on the ground defenseless. Then, after finally killing the flying MUTO with a wicked tail slam, a building falls on him! And he's STILL able to get up and finish off the last MUTO. Granted, he passed out immediately after, but he was on his feet the next day. Kong will have to work overtime to put this Kaiju down for the count.
Godzilla's last and arguably greatest advantage is his signature move: his atomic breath. The iconic blue flame is Godzilla's ace in the hole, providing him with a long-range weapon with a serious punch. It was the key to defeating the MUTO in Gareth Edwards' film, and anyone who saw Kong: Skull Island knows that Kong isn't a fan of fire. Does he stand a chance?
King Kong: Stats and Powers
It's starting to look like King Kong ain't got nothing on Godzilla, right? Kong is definitely the underdog, but audiences love a good underdog. (You don't root for Clubber Lang, do you?) Kong: Skull Island introduced Kong to the MonsterVerse and it partly had to sell us that the Eighth Wonder of the World would be able to go toe-to-toe with Godzilla come 2020. Jordan Vogt-Roberts' film does this in a few key areas.
First off is Kong's physical strength; this boy is strong. Throughout Skull Island, Kong shows off his strength in various ways, from lifting massive boulders to throwing trees like they were missiles. Kong's strength is his greatest physical attribute, and it's one of the main ways he was able to overcome his own movie adversary, the Skullcrawlers. Kong frequently overpowered his enemies even when outnumbered -- unlike Godzilla -- and he even beat "the Big One" with only one arm.
In addition to his strength, Kong also demonstrated some impressive smarts. Kong has the ability to strategize, whereas Godzilla relies on brute force and mostly instinct. Numerous times in the film, Kong is shown making weapons out of nearby objects like a giant hairy MacGyver. At one point, Kong turns a tree into a club (he even knew to take branches off), which he uses to bash a Skullcrawler in the face. More importantly, Kong can adapt and turn a bad situation towards his favor, such as when he was tangled in the chain of a wrecked ship, noticed the chain was attached to the propeller, and then used it as a yo-yo of death against The Big One. Godzilla sure as hell can't do that.
But what good is strength and smarts when your opponent stands at least 250 feet above you? Kong has a serious size problem, but that might not be a permanent problem. When John C. Reilly's stranded WWII pilot Marlow is explaining Kong's backstory, he has a quick line saying that Kong's "not done growing yet." Skull Island takes place in 1973 and Godzilla vs. Kong will assumedly take place in 2020 (or a contemporary frame). That gives Kong a whole 47 years to catch up to Godzilla, instantly increasing his threat level.
So, knowing all we know about both combatants, is this a fair fight? Absolutely. Kong's biggest issue against Godzilla is his size, but if he does grow, then that puts them on a level playing field. Godzilla's defenses help cancel out Kong's greater physical strength, while Kong's agility makes him tougher for the slower Godzilla to hit. Godzilla's atomic breath is still a huge advantage, but Kong has the smarts to find a counter, like forging some kind of makeshift shield out of his surroundings.
With all that in mind, this is going to be a much closer fight than we would initially suspect, and that's we're all the better for it. It just makes Godzilla vs. Kong all the more epic because it won't just be 10 minutes of Godzilla spanking Kong into the floor. In the immortal words of Ken Watanabe, "let them fight."
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